Eggplant and Tomato Soup
Every now and then, a chef will make an eggplant-and-tomato soup as the soup of the day, and find it so good that he wonders whether anyone else ever discovered this. A few chefs have, I’m happy to say, and the results are always great. The combination of those two flavors is about perfect.
When I have a lot of people over, especially in the cool seasons, I greet each arriving guest with this soup in small coffee cups. The only change is to puree the soup all the way with a quarter-cup of whipping cream, or a tablespoon of sour cream and a few dashes of Tabasco.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped
- 4 leaves fresh rosemary (only 4 leaves!)
- 3 28-ounce cans whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand, juice reserved OR 7 medium, ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, and seeded
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1. Peel the eggplant and cut into large dice
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. When it shimmers, add the garlic cloves and crushed red pepper. Cook until the garlic is browned at the edges. Remove the garlic, and add the eggplant, cooking until it’s browned on the edges. Lower the heat to medium-low.
3. Add all the other ingredients and stir to blend. Add one and a half cups of the reserved tomato juice. Bring to a light boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every now and then.
4. Roughly puree the soup in a food processor, leaving small chunks of eggplant. Return to the saucepan, add the lemon juice, and adjust seasonings. Add a little water or chicken stock if necessary to lighten up the texture.
Serves six to eight.